Month: February 2014

If you tell me I can’t do something, I’m just going to try harder

Shoot_for_the_moon_by_livinganlie

February 24, 2014

Time does seem to fly! I am so excited to sit down and write this entry today. I am excited just to write. It always helps to clear my head.

The quote in the beginning of this article is my favorite! I use it with my students all the time. After reading this article, you will see how it is important in your life as well!

I came across this post the other day on a friends newsfeed and I was compelled to read it. The title “I Didn’t Breastfeed My Daughter” popped out at me and I was drawn to the page for one single reason: My breastfeeding experience was the worst! Now , I know, many of you are shaking their heads, especially those of you who are La Leche League members.  However, hold your opinions until after you have read my thoughts. The author of the post I read spoke about how she tried but her daughter would not latch on at all. She was thrown many comments from other people and given stares of horror as she gave her daughter a bottle. I let out many gasps as I read this article.

I was in the same boat over a year ago. My son had very minor complications when he was born and I did not see him for over 12 hours after he was born. As soon as I saw him I went right into doing what a mom is “suppose” to do: breastfeed. I had read so many books about this topic that as far as I had known, it was suppose to be extremely natural. Well, wasn’t it a big shock when my son would not latch. After so many attempts, a nurse had suggested that if I really wanted my son to get breast milk, why don’t I try pumping. So, there I was, hooked up to this device that made me seem very much like a milking cow. However, I did produce some milk and my son got this through a bottle. That was my first of a long line of pumpings.

In the days following my son’s birth, my husband and I sat with lactation consultants and countless nurses who tried so hard to get my son to latch. I slowly came to the realization that pumping was going to be my best bet.  On the night before my son and I were to be discharged, a middle aged nurse came into my room and saw me pumping. She looked at me with disgust in her face and said “Would you like me to come back later and show you how to really breastfeed?”. I politely said, “Sure! Thank you!” and she left. About 3 hours later she came back and I was pumping again and she said with both hatred and sarcasm in her voice, ” Well, obviously you aren’t going to breastfeed. Why don’t you just stop doing that and give him formula?”. I tried to explain that my son wouldn’t latch and I was trying my best to give him my milk. She shook her head and in so many words said that I was doing an awful injustice to my son and that I wouldn’t last a week pumping. She left the room and I cried my eyes out. I thought my husband was going to go say something to her  (but he hugged me instead 😉 ).

I left the hospital and made a vow to myself that I would show that lady a thing or two. I wound up pumping for 6 months. I dreaded every moment I sat in front of that torture chamber (as I so fondly referred to my pump), but I did it every 3 hours. I never have forgotten that nurse and I thought of her each time I pumped. And I had a huge smile every time I would produce an over abundance of milk!

I do want to point out that I do not hate nurses. I think that they are amazing people who perform amazing duties every day.  This one particular nurse I had just had an awful personality with an even worse bedside manner. They do say what goes around, comes around.  In this nurse’s case, I hope it is not when she is in a similar position as mine.

To end this, I want to give a shout out to all of you who nurse for years, months, weeks, days, minutes,  or seconds, and to those of you decide to go straight to formula. You are all super moms and deserve nothing but love and support. We are all in this together and should not be putting each down. Before I had my son, someone gave me great advice about being a mom: Don’t listen to any advice. Do whatever is good for you. It is so true! You do you. And don’t let anyone tell you any different.

What is your opinion on this? Comment below.

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com .

A snow day means painting time!

20140122_111114January 22, 2014

We had a huge snow storm today! Where I live we had almost a foot! (I want to give a shout out to my fabulous husband for doing all of the shoveling! You’re the best!)

It is truly too cold to bring my son out to play. Maybe some of you would, however, I despise the cold weather! Anything under 50 degrees is brutal to me.  So, maybe not going outside is a more selfish strategy. Nonetheless, we stayed inside.  We had super fun, though. We fingerpainted!! Well, my son splashed paint all over the place while I daintily used a paint brush. He had such an awesome time! Above is a picture of his masterpiece. My very own Picaso ;).

I actually wound up making my own fingerpaint. Am I being overbearing by doing this? Maybe to some, yes. And I will totally admit I do take the clean part of life a little too drastic. However, I do enjoy it and I feel that regular fingerpaints you buy in the store have lots of chemicals. At my son’s age, he will undoubtedly put his fingers in his mouth. I really don’t want him eating those chemicals. And, at his age, he really isn’t going to know the difference between homemade and store bought fingerpaint, so it’s a win-win.

I found a really simple recipe online from one of those Mommy websites. It really was so easy. You mix 2 tablespoons of white flour with a little bit of water until you get a thin paste. The site did not specify how much water, so I slowly added a little bit at a time until it was a thin paste consistency. I then added food coloring and it was time to paint. I do not use food coloring with added dyes, such as yellow 5, etc. I used the India Tree decorating set. It is slightly expensive, but it lasts a long time and it is made with vegetable colorants. The paint was a little bit thinner than the stuff from the store. I might have used too much water. Otherwise, it was a great time and my son loved it!

Do any of you have interesting paint recipes or stories? Comment below!!!

You can also reach me at themrszfiles@gmail.com

Just a little help from my (coupon) friends

scissors_clipping_coupons_hg_wht

February 18, 2014

I wanted to pass on another cool idea! I know I enjoy buying natural foods in the store. However, it can be costly. It is not cheap buying healthy. There have been many times where I pass up an item because, in my mind, it was way too expensive.

Then I was watching Extreme Couponing on TLC a few months back. Yes, I am a huge TLC fan. The shows will probably rot my brain but I love all of those cheesy shows! Back to Extreme Couponing. There was one woman who loved to buy healthy foods as well. She had the best advice ever. If you look at the back of the package of food, the company usually gives you a phone number to call for questions or comments. She claimed that if you call the company, you can ask for coupons. Well, I had to try it. So, one day I took out some of the products we bought often. At the time my son was on pureed foods and he was eating the Earth’s Best brand. I dialed up the 800 number and said how my son loves their food and asked if they offer coupons. The woman said of course and asked for my address. Since it was so easy, I called up several other companies and went through the same process.

Two weeks later my mailbox was flooded with coupons from the companies! Some places sent three or four coupons! Then others only sent one. It didn’t bother me at all. To me, it was a gold mine! I now call up every few weeks for coupons to brands that don’t normally offer coupons in the local newspaper. I don’t know how long they will keep sending them or if they track how often you call and put a limit on how many coupons one customer can receive. I will keep trying, though!

It really is a great feeling knowing you can eat healthy and save money at the same time! Hope you enjoy the idea!

Do any of you have cost saving tips for eating healthy? Or just plain old cost saving tips? Comment below! :)

Never pass up a super avocado sale again!

ganze und halbe avocado isoliert auf weiss

February 11, 2014

Today is all about avocados. A few months ago I was at the grocery store and I saw avocados on sale for 4 at $5. This is an extremely great price since I have never seen an avocado for less than $0.99 near my home.  I was disappointed when all of the avocados were hard as a rock. I was going to pass them up, as I usually do when avocados are hard. This time, however, I reached for my phone and researched how to ripen an avocado.

It seemed really easy. You take the avocados and place them in a brown paper bag and close the top. Then place the bag in a cool, dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet). The website said that within 48 to 72 hours, the avocados should be soft and ready to eat. I took the bait and bought the rock hard avocados. When I got home I placed them in a brown bag and put them in a closet. I checked them the next day and they were still hard. I was starting to doubt the technique. However, when I checked at the 48 hour mark, the avocados were starting to feel soft. Not the entire avocado but it was softer then when I bought it. On the third day I checked them and, lo and behold, I had 4 ripe avocados! I was so excited! It was like I struck gold. The same website also said that if avocados are soft in the store, it means that they have been off of the tree for awhile and are not fresh. If they are hard, it means the avocados are fresh  and newly picked. You learn something new every day.

The day before Super Bowl Sunday, I was at Costco and I saw a package of 6 avocados for $4.99. That is less than $1 an avocado! I could not leave without buying them, even though they were hard.  A woman who was standing next to me asked me if I was going to buy them since they were so hard. I said yes and told her about my newly learned trick. I also told her that they would not be ripe the next day if she wanted to make guacamole for Super Bowl Sunday. She said she was going to buy them anyway and try it. I wish I could have been there when she found 6 ripe avocados three days later!!

You can also use this trick with bananas! I will never pass up a great bargain on avocados (or bananas) ever again! I hope you enjoy!

Here is a recipe for guacamole if you are interested!

P.S. If you put a banana in the bag with the avocados, it will speed up the process. I haven’t tried it yet but I have researched some more and people claim it works. Give it a try!

So much to do, so little time

somuchtodo

February 3, 2014

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you have so much to do but you don’t get much of it done? Well, that was me this past week. After being a teacher for so many years, I never mastered the art of filing papers neatly. My desk was always a mess in school. I always called it organized chaos. I would also say that it was the sign of a genius. I guess it was my way of covering up my lack of organization. Well, my desk at home has started to become my Organized Chaos.

I also have to admit that this winter weather is making me so lazy. So, here is my big confession: I have not worked out in the past 2 weeks! I know, I hear one large sigh from all of you. I am suppose to be Super Mom, right? I am suppose to fit in all of the healthy eating, and the exercising, and the cleaning, and the cooking… (I used way too many “ands” in that sentence that my grammar senses are on overload!). I guess I am not perfect. However, I have come to a realization. I have realized that no one is perfect. Unless, of course, you are God. (That is a throwback to my Catholic school days.) Everyone is going to have weeks like this. It is inevitable. I will not stop exercising. I will just pick up where I left off. Will I be as fit as I was before having a baby? I am setting the bar high but I know I will never be as perfect as I felt I was then. And I am perfectly fine with that.

If you’re wondering why I used a picture of dogs with this post, it’s because I love dogs! We have our own dog that we adopted and he is my first baby and my love! Anyway, let’s get back on topic.

So, do you agree? Disagree? Any suggestions on how to get back into the exercise groove again? You know what to do!

A Sesame Street critique

sesame-street

January 27, 2014

I am going off of the food topic today. Since becoming a mommy, my morning hours have become consumed with Sesame Street.  I forgot that this show is so amazing. It has even gotten to the point where a few of my mommy friends and I email each other about the different segments. Oh the joys of motherhood!

I particularly love Crumby Pictures and Elmo the Musical. The other parts are cute but are more educationally sound. Not that I do not enjoy educationally sound segments, however, since I can already count to 10 and can say the alphabet (front and backwards might I add! Not as quickly backwards but I can do it.), the entertaining parts are what catch my attention. Crumby Pictures stars Cookie Monster. He usually portrays a character in a famous movie or show and he needs to solve a problem. One such portrayal is “Biscotti Karate”. Yes, you guessed it. This is loosely based on The Karate Kid. There is the Sensei, who is the teacher, and the Karate Squid, who catches Cookie Monster when he makes a mistake. Instead of the “Wax on, wax off” adage, he is taught to say “Biscotti on, Biscotti off” and proceeds to take a box of biscotti cookies on and off a shelf as he repeats it. It is quite comical when you watch it.

Another of my favorite Crumby Pictures is “The Hungry Games”. I’m thinking you can guess what movie this is based on. Cookie Monster must pass challenges in order to become last man standing. He is surrounded by friends, including a piece of pita bread called Pita. One challenge asks them to find a pattern in the shapes they encounter. In order to pass the challenge Cookie Monster must figure out the last shape in the pattern and then eat it. Turns out the last shape is a circle. They need to find something that is circular. The funniest part is when they all look at Pita and he looks at them like they are crazy. In the end, Cookie Monster wins the challenge, without having to eat his friend Pita.

Elmo the Musical is another entertaining segment. Elmo imagines what he could be that day and creates a play surrounding it. I saw one today where he is a chef and needs to find new recipes around the world. His first stop is to Machu Picchu. He meets the queen and she begins to sing a song that goes like this: “I’m the Queen of Machu Picchu and it is so good to meet you!”. “Meet you” sounds more like “Meetchu” but you get the picture.

One last review and then I’ll be off. I just saw a segment called “Homelamb” the other day. It is very loosely based on “Homeland”. All of the agents are lambs and are searching for the Big Bad Wolf. They want Nicholas Baa-rody to come in and help them find the big bad wolf. All of the characters names are the same, except they add a baa into it, such as Caa-rie and Saa-ul. Caa-rie sees right through Nicholas Baa-rody, who is obviously the wolf wearing a robe to look like a sheep. She even says that he is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. You got me at that one Sesame Street! Keep them coming!

It really is the little things in this show that are so fascinating. Kuddos to the writers of this show!

How do you all feel about Sesame Street? Are there any other kid’s shows out there that tickle your funny bone? Comment below!

My kids will never eat that…

eat-no-fast-food

While I was running today, I was thinking back to a conversation  I had with someone a few years ago. (I do not know who it was with, so if it is you who are reading this, I am not mad at you :).)

They had asked whether I will let my children eat any type of fast food. This was before my son was born, so of course I thought I knew all of the answers and I replied with a definitive “Yuck! No way will my kid ever eat fast food.”

Well, being a mom certainly changes the way you do things. However, my pre-mommy answer was not 100% false. I am not naive and I know that when my son gets older he will go out with his friends and they will probably get some type of fast food. I do not believe there is anything wrong with it. I did with my friends (I definitely had my fair share of fast food as a teenager and in my early 20s).

Now being a mommy, this is the way I look at it. As long as my son is in my house, I will cook as clean and healthy as possible. As a family, we go out to a restaurant maybe once a month. I usually cook dinner Sunday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday are either at my mother or my mother-in-law’s house. (They don’t always cook clean. They do know how I am about certain things, so they will go out of their way to tell me if something is organic or natural. It is funny. But, I did get them to think about their food, so it was a success! Love you both!) By cooking clean, I feel that I am giving my son a foundation to go on when it comes to making food choices. So, I hope by giving my son this foundation, he will hopefully make the wise choice. Will it always be easy? No. But nothing in life that is worth grasping is rarely ever easy.

I enjoy watching The Biggest Loser and LOVE Dolvett! One of the things he says with his team is “Hard Work! Dedication!”. When I was in the classroom, I used that slogan with my kids all of the time. Now, I use it to help define my eating and exercising habits. Teaching my son (and husband for that matter) will definitely be hard work. But the dedication I put towards it will hopefully grant me large rewards. So, remember: Hard Work! Dedication!

In looking back on that conversation, I want to thank that person. I’m glad the recesses of my brain brought that up and got me thinking about it. So, thank you!

What are your feelings on eating clean? Comment below.  Please be kind :)

Eating clean can sometimes be so overwhelming!

clean eating

Sometimes it can be very overwhelming eating clean. I read about the dangers in regular food and it just gets me thinking about other things in my life that could be posing the same hazards. It got to a point the other day where I was even researching how to make my own shampoo since there are chemicals in most store purchased products. I found a really easy recipe, which I hope to try soon and pass on to you the results.

Where was I? Oh yes, eating clean can be overwhelming. But when I put clean food into my mouth, I always feel so much better and the stress disappears. I mentioned NON-GMO foods in my first entry and I would like to discuss a little bit about that now. It is sad, but many of the packaged foods sold in stores have GMOs, or genetically modified organisms (you will also see GMI, which are genetically modified ingredients.).  I found this on the NON-GMO Project website http://www.nongmoproject.org/learn-more/

GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

So, basically, the GMOs are fake. They are not from nature. To me, that just means I am eating nasty chemicals. I try to replace what I call our “heavy hitters” with NON-GMO certified foods. The heavy hitters are the foods we enjoy eating a lot. Here is a list of companies that are approved by the NON-GMO Project: http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/  .It is a handy tool to use.

One heavy hitter in our household is yogurt. Unfortunately, most brands that are sold in stores are made out of GMOs. I have been using YoBaby yogurt for my son, which is organic but not on the NON-GMO list. I have heard a lot about Brown Cow Greek Yogurt. I have yet to try it since it is only sold at Whole Foods. The next time I make a trip there, I will surely be stocking up. I also found this recipe for making  yogurt in a crockpot.  It seems super simple and I cannot wait to try it!! Have any of you tried this yet? Can anyone recommend any other NON-GMO yogurt brands? Please comment below and let me know :).